Electric Bath [Columbia, 1967]
At Fillmore [Columbia, 1970]
Don Ellis was a trumpet player and big-band leader who incorporated electronics, unconventional time signatures, and microtonality into his recordings. If all this suggests some kinda freaky jazz nirvana, the truth unfortunately ain't as wondrous. I picked up a copy of At Fillmore after reading AMG's description ("crazy and riotous", "ring modulator", hello!) but was mostly disappointed by the overwhelmingly silly attitude. The band sounds too goofy to get very far out there, despite the occasional blast of electronic mutation. Damn, even a track called "Pussy Wiggle Stomp" doesn't deliver. A better choice is the earlier Electric Bath, specifically "Turkish Bath," with its perversely dissonant main theme played on reeds detuned in quarter-tone increments. Exquisite! While some of Ellis' concepts can get annoying-- an overemphasis on odd time signatures being the most notable-- his use of detuning here is brilliant. "Open Beauty" is another cut deserving mention, a slow boiler which begins with a tremoloed Rhodes and intensifies with additional layers of players, then suddenly collapses to a coda with Ellis on solo trumpet tape loop. The rest of the album is less kozmik, and "Indian Lady" sounds more like an American frontier epic than anything influenced by the land of spices, but yeah, "Turkish Bath" and "Open Beauty" definitely justify a trip to the listening booth. [DW]
Thats a bit harsh mate! Maybe you should find a band in the 60's that even came close to The Don Ellis Big band and then coment. It sounds to me like you just felt like bagging the crap out of something! Get a grip mate! Appreciate The music for what it is not what you wanted it to be
I brought myself up on jazz back in the 60's, when all my high-school buddies were doing nothing but rock and a little Herb Alpert.
Yes, "Elctric Bath" probably is better than "Fillmore", but to say it's "silly" or that "Pus. Wiggle Stomp" doesn't deliver (???) just underscores how much we don't need any goddam music critics to tell people what's good and bad.
Fillmore was ahead of it's time, just like most of the rest of Ellis' work...taking Miles'
"Bitch's Brew" to a new level.